Toshimitsu Kawate

National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States

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Publications (12)173.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: P2X receptors are trimeric cation channels that open in response to the binding of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to a large extracellular domain. The x-ray structure of the P2X4 receptor from zebrafish (zfP2X4) receptor reveals that the extracellular vestibule above the gate opens to the outside through lateral fenestrations, providing a potential pathway for ions to enter and exit the pore. The extracellular region also contains a void at the central axis, providing a second potential pathway. To investigate the energetics of each potential ion permeation pathway, we calculated the electrostatic free energy by solving the Poisson-Boltzmann equation along each of these pathways in the zfP2X4 crystal structure and a homology model of rat P2X2 (rP2X2). We found that the lateral fenestrations are energetically favorable for monovalent cations even in the closed-state structure, whereas the central pathway presents strong electrostatic barriers that would require structural rearrangements to allow for ion accessibility. To probe ion accessibility along these pathways in the rP2X2 receptor, we investigated the modification of introduced Cys residues by methanethiosulfonate (MTS) reagents and constrained structural changes by introducing disulfide bridges. Our results show that MTS reagents can permeate the lateral fenestrations, and that these become larger after ATP binding. Although relatively small MTS reagents can access residues in one of the vestibules within the central pathway, no reactive positions were identified in the upper region of this pathway, and disulfide bridges that constrain movements in that region do not prevent ion conduction. Collectively, these results suggest that ions access the pore using the lateral fenestrations, and that these breathe as the channel opens. The accessibility of ions to one of the chambers in the central pathway likely serves a regulatory function.
    The Journal of General Physiology 06/2011; 137(6):579-90. · 4.73 Impact Factor
  • Biophysical Journal 01/2011; 100. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The opening of ion channels in response to ligand binding, voltage or membrane stretch underlies electrical and chemical signalling throughout biology. Two structural classes of pore-opening mechanisms have been established, including bending of pore-lining helices in the case of tetrameric cation channels, or tilting of such helices in mechanosensitive channels. In this paper, we explore how the structure of the pore changes during opening in P2X receptors by measuring the modification of introduced cysteine residues in transmembrane helices by thiol-reactive reagents, and by engineering metal bridges. Our results are consistent with the X-ray structure of the closed state, and demonstrate that expansion of the gate region in the external pore is accompanied by a significant narrowing of the inner pore, indicating that pore-forming helices straighten on ATP binding to open the channel. This unique pore-opening mechanism has fundamental implications for the role of subunit interfaces in the gating mechanism of P2X receptors and points to a role of the internal pore in ion permeation.
    Nature Communications 07/2010; 1:44. · 10.02 Impact Factor
  • Biophysical Journal 01/2010; 98. · 3.67 Impact Factor
  • Biophysical Journal 01/2010; 98. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: P2X receptors are cation-selective ion channels gated by extracellular ATP, and are implicated in diverse physiological processes, from synaptic transmission to inflammation to the sensing of taste and pain. Because P2X receptors are not related to other ion channel proteins of known structure, there is at present no molecular foundation for mechanisms of ligand-gating, allosteric modulation and ion permeation. Here we present crystal structures of the zebrafish P2X(4) receptor in its closed, resting state. The chalice-shaped, trimeric receptor is knit together by subunit-subunit contacts implicated in ion channel gating and receptor assembly. Extracellular domains, rich in beta-strands, have large acidic patches that may attract cations, through fenestrations, to vestibules near the ion channel. In the transmembrane pore, the 'gate' is defined by an approximately 8 A slab of protein. We define the location of three non-canonical, intersubunit ATP-binding sites, and suggest that ATP binding promotes subunit rearrangement and ion channel opening.
    Nature 08/2009; 460(7255):592-8. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    Eric B Gonzales, Toshimitsu Kawate, Eric Gouaux
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    ABSTRACT: Acid-sensing ion channels are proton-activated, sodium-selective channels composed of three subunits, and are members of the superfamily of epithelial sodium channels, mechanosensitive and FMRF-amide peptide-gated ion channels. These ubiquitous eukaryotic ion channels have essential roles in biological activities as diverse as sodium homeostasis, taste and pain. Despite their crucial roles in biology and their unusual trimeric subunit stoichiometry, there is little knowledge of the structural and chemical principles underlying their ion channel architecture and ion-binding sites. Here we present the structure of a functional acid-sensing ion channel in a desensitized state at 3 A resolution, the location and composition of the approximately 8 A 'thick' desensitization gate, and the trigonal antiprism coordination of caesium ions bound in the extracellular vestibule. Comparison of the acid-sensing ion channel structure with the ATP-gated P2X(4) receptor reveals similarity in pore architecture and aqueous vestibules, suggesting that there are unanticipated yet common structural and mechanistic principles.
    Nature 08/2009; 460(7255):599-604. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    Toshimitsu Kawate, Eric Gouaux
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    ABSTRACT: Formation of well-ordered crystals of membrane proteins is a bottleneck for structure determination by X-ray crystallography. Nevertheless, one can increase the probability of successful crystallization by precrystallization screening, a process by which one analyzes the monodispersity and stability of the protein-detergent complex. Traditionally, this has required microgram to milligram quantities of purified protein and a concomitant investment of time and resources. Here, we describe a rapid and efficient precrystallization screening strategy in which the target protein is covalently fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP) and the resulting unpurified protein is analyzed by fluorescence-detection size-exclusion chromatography (FSEC). This strategy requires only nanogram quantities of unpurified protein and allows one to evaluate localization and expression level, the degree of monodispersity, and the approximate molecular mass. We show the application of this precrystallization screening to four membrane proteins derived from prokaryotic or eukaryotic organisms.
    Structure 05/2006; 14(4):673-81. · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Na+/Cl--dependent transporters terminate synaptic transmission by using electrochemical gradients to drive the uptake of neurotransmitters, including the biogenic amines, from the synapse to the cytoplasm of neurons and glia. These transporters are the targets of therapeutic and illicit compounds, and their dysfunction has been implicated in multiple diseases of the nervous system. Here we present the crystal structure of a bacterial homologue of these transporters from Aquifex aeolicus, in complex with its substrate, leucine, and two sodium ions. The protein core consists of the first ten of twelve transmembrane segments, with segments 1-5 related to 6-10 by a pseudo-two-fold axis in the membrane plane. Leucine and the sodium ions are bound within the protein core, halfway across the membrane bilayer, in an occluded site devoid of water. The leucine and ion binding sites are defined by partially unwound transmembrane helices, with main-chain atoms and helix dipoles having key roles in substrate and ion binding. The structure reveals the architecture of this important class of transporter, illuminates the determinants of substrate binding and ion selectivity, and defines the external and internal gates.
    Nature 10/2005; 437(7056):215-23. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    Tetsuya Takeda, Toshimitsu Kawate, Fred Chang
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    ABSTRACT: Many membrane processes occur in discrete membrane domains containing lipid rafts, but little is known about how these domains are organized and positioned. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, a sterol-rich membrane domain forms at the cell-division site. Here, we show that formation of this membrane domain is independent of the contractile actin ring, septation, mid1p and the septins, and also requires cdc15p, an essential contractile ring protein that associates with lipid rafts. cdc15 mutants have membrane domains in the shape of spirals. Overexpression of cdc15p in interphase cells induces abnormal membrane domain formation in an actin-independent manner. We propose that cdc15p functions to organize lipid rafts at the cleavage site for cytokinesis.
    Nature Cell Biology 12/2004; 6(11):1142-4. · 20.76 Impact Factor
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    Toshimitsu Kawate, Eric Gouaux
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    ABSTRACT: alpha-Hemolysin (alphaHL) is secreted by Staphylococcus aureus as a water-soluble monomer that assembles into a heptamer to form a transmembrane pore on a target membrane. The crystal structures of the LukF water-soluble monomer and the membrane-bound alpha-hemolysin heptamer show that large conformational changes occur during assembly. However, the mechanism of assembly and pore formation is still unclear, primarily because of the difficulty in obtaining structural information on assembly intermediates. Our goal is to use disulfide bonds to selectively arrest and release alphaHL from intermediate stages of the assembly process and to use these mutants to test mechanistic hypotheses. To accomplish this, we created four double cysteine mutants, D108C/K154C (alphaHL-A), M113C/K147C (alphaHL-B), H48C/ N121C (alphaHL-C), I5C/G130C (alphaHL-D), in which disulfide bonds may form between the pre-stem domain and the beta-sandwich domain to prevent pre-stem rearrangement and membrane insertion. Among the four mutants, alphaHL-A is remarkably stable, is produced at a level at least 10-fold greater than that of the wild-type protein, is monomeric in aqueous solution, and has hemolytic activity that can be regulated by the presence or absence of reducing agents. Cross-linking analysis showed that alphaHL-A assembles on a membrane into an oligomer, which is likely to be a heptamer, in the absence of a reducing agent, suggesting that oxidized alphaHL-A is halted at a heptameric prepore state. Therefore, conformational rearrangements at positions 108 and 154 are critical for the completion of alphaHL assembly but are not essential for membrane binding or for formation of an oligomeric prepore intermediate.
    Protein Science 06/2003; 12(5):997-1006. · 2.74 Impact Factor
  • Toshimitsu Kawate, Eric Gouaux
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: α-Hemolysin (αHL) is secreted by Staphylococcus aureus as a water-soluble monomer that assembles into a heptamer to form a transmembrane pore on a target membrane. The crystal structures of the LukF water-soluble monomer and the membrane-bound α-hemolysin heptamer show that large conformational changes occur during assembly. However, the mechanism of assembly and pore formation is still unclear, primarily because of the difficulty in obtaining structural information on assembly intermediates. Our goal is to use disulfide bonds to selectively arrest and release αHL from intermediate stages of the assembly process and to use these mutants to test mechanistic hypotheses. To accomplish this, we created four double cysteine mutants, D108C/K154C (αHL-A), M113C/K147C (αHL-B), H48C/ N121C (αHL-C), I5C/G130C (αHL-D), in which disulfide bonds may form between the pre-stem domain and the β-sandwich domain to prevent pre-stem rearrangement and membrane insertion. Among the four mutants, αHL-A is remarkably stable, is produced at a level at least 10-fold greater than that of the wild-type protein, is monomeric in aqueous solution, and has hemolytic activity that can be regulated by the presence or absence of reducing agents. Cross-linking analysis showed that αHL-A assembles on a membrane into an oligomer, which is likely to be a heptamer, in the absence of a reducing agent, suggesting that oxidized αHL-A is halted at a heptameric prepore state. Therefore, conformational rearrangements at positions 108 and 154 are critical for the completion of αHL assembly but are not essential for membrane binding or for formation of an oligomeric prepore intermediate.
    Protein Science 01/2003; 12(5):997-1006. · 2.74 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
173.77 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2010–2011
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Section on Molecular and Cell Biology
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 2009
    • Oregon Health and Science University
      Portland, Oregon, United States
  • 2006
    • Columbia University
      • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2003
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Maryland, United States